So here’s the thing. When I told you about Kirsten’s clothes rules, I left out one not-so itty bitty detail. One so challenging that it deserved a whole story to itself. You ready for it? Her attachment to a single pair of …underwear. Yep. You heard right. Underwear.
I share this with the understanding you will keep it confidential. Kirsten can NOT hear this! Not because she will be embarrassed. Definitely not that. The risk of reigniting the underwear conversations is just too great. Very popular in their day. Her underwear… my underwear… your underwear. All were fair game. Anywhere… anytime.
Best, best location? The dinner table. Rather brilliant really. Captive audience! K: “Kirsten has pink underwear.” … “Mom has white underwear. With ruffles!” I will refrain from sharing the details of others in order to preserve what few dinner guests I have left. Suffice it to say, nobody was immune. Err… to be more exact… no female was immune. Which became our saving grace.
The problem wasn’t knowing the social norm. In fact, after sharing about everyone’s underwear, she would add, “That’s not appropriate!” Yeah… she knew… So we employed a new tactic. Followed the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” motto. Every time Kirsten started talking about underwear, we ALL started talking about it!
K: “Kirsten has yellow underwear.” Grandma: “Nice Kirsten! Mine is white. You want to see?” Me: “I have pink today!” and Grandpa: “You want to see MY underwear Kirsten?” What?? Grandpa’s underwear?!! If THAT was where the conversation was going, she was OUT. The girl has standards!
K: “STOP talking!”
And there it was. A few rounds of Grandpa chiming in and it was all over. How often does that happen??! Gotta say… I was a little sad when that fun game ended.
But it didn’t start there…
Nope. The underwear conversations were preceded by the single-pair rule. About 5 years old at the time. And insisting on wearing the (albeit beautiful) purple diamonds with pink dots. Every day. Identical pair apparently not-identical-enough. Seriously.
Handwashed those things nightly. Yep. Every. Single. Night. Panic setting in as I watched them disintegrate a little more each time. And then – a hole. And another. And yet another. What to do??! Well, patch them, of course! And boy was I glad I’d saved the matching pair. Then I could line up those little diamonds just… like… so…
Stop looking at me like that… survival people. It’s all about survival. These were the early high-velocity-meltdown days. I see you nodding out there… you from the been-there-done-that or maybe even the OMG-I’m-still-doing-that!! crowd. My daughter’s grasp on her sanity (and therefore mine) hinged on her wearing that pair of underwear.
And then, just when I’d given up hope, it happened! I spotted the most beautiful site from across the Disney Store. Princess Underwear. 7 pair to a pack – SEVEN! My heart welled up with joy… my brain all abuzz with excitement. I was elated! It was as if the heavens opened up and shined down on that little package. What?! Princesses???! Surely her love of the Princesses would overcome her attachment to the diamonds. Right?!!
Me: “Kirsten, look! Look at this!!” K: “DIAMONDS!!” But it was too late. I’d seen it. That little glimmer in her eyes. The future had been set. My escape was established. Would it be? Could it be??!
With the seed planted, all it needed was a little watering. Which involved visiting the Disney Store at our every opportunity… wandering by those 7 Princesses. Nonchalant. Just looking… no pressure… Me: “Wow Kirsten, look at those Princesses!” K: “Diamonds.” Me: “Mmmm-hmmm.”
Not sure which had a bigger impact – the draw of the Princesses or the discomfort of the ever-increasing patches, but she succumbed! On her terms, of course. K: “Disney Princess underwear in December?” Okay. Three months away, but I’ll take it!
The months that ensued were spent repeating about Princesses, reinforcing her bravery, visiting the Disney Store, and of course patching the thread-bare purple diamonds. I’m happy to report – she stuck to her plan…
By-far, my absolute favorite gift under the tree that year had Kirsten’s name on it. I could retire those purple diamonds! And you better believe, we did NOT play favorites when it came to Princesses. EACH and EVERY one got her share of stage time.
…so now you know the whole story. May the sharing of my world make you realize just how normal yours is. Alternatively… welcome to the club!